- Captain Kirk encounters Klingons and nocturnal creatures known as Strangers and the sun god himself in a journey of incredible suspense…
- Inside the hollow shell of a strange, remote planet Kirk and the Enterprise crew discover a planet within a planet… energized by a white dwarf star… a planet like a lost Eden populated by a race of small, gentle, furred bipeds… a planet falling toward a black hole to spectacular peril and inescapable doom…
While exploring a region of space, the starship USS Enterprise discovers a man claiming to be Jesus Christ in a shuttlecraft from a starship that went missing twenty years prior. The insane fellow in the USS Rickover shuttle turns out to be James T. Kirk's former roommate, Thomas Clayton, whom he had expelled from Starfleet Academy for cheating. Cheating would not be tolerated by Kirk, especially not at the Academy. Thomas Clayton rants and raves about Ay-nab and attacks several people after overpowering the witless med tech placed in charge of his captivity. This causes the USS Enterprise to backtrack the shuttle's course. The USS Enterprise is then captured by an unseen force and held within a Dyson sphere called Lyra.
James T. Kirk and company descend to the planet where he becomes romanticaly invovled with a local inhabitant. The local girl is furry and believes she is married to Kirk. Kirk soon discovers Klingons are also trapped within this construct, and that all weapons but a special sort found on the surface are useless. The Klingons claim to be political dissidents on the run from the emperor and ask for Kirk's help in escaping Lyra. The landing party camps out within the village on the surface, and in the night Strangers attack, causing commotion. Startled by noises outside her hut, a nude Uhura ventures into the night. This is not very unusual, as Uhura mentions that within the United Federation of Planets the only reason anyone wears clothes at all is to help maintain order onboard starships.
Nyota Uhura discovers her father and the two run off to join the other Strangers. Clayton again outwits the med tech in charge of his confinement and again attacks crew members, this time taking hostages. Kirk and Spock commune with Ay-nab and learn the history of Lyra. A species seeking to end the cycle of war and rebuilding turn to the god Ay-nab that lives within their star. Ay-nab offers to teach them to build a Dyson's Sphere, but promises that they will all be destroyed in a black hole if they do this. The locals accepted this offer, built the sphere, and now have dwindled down to the village's small population as Lyra fast approaches the black hole. Kirk is allowed to leave with Uhura, but must leave all the others behind, as Ay-nab drains them of their life force in order to survive. Kirk bargains for the life of his 'wife', Ola. As the Enterprise escapes, Spock ponders the destruction of Lyra suggesting they might instead have used the black hole to travel to some other universe or location. The Klingon ship is also allowed to leave, but without their newfound arsenal.
- Ay-nab • Nathan Boggs • Christine Chapel • Pavel Chekov • Thomas Clayton • Domo • Gregory • Arthur Kaplan • James T. Kirk • Kree • Kyanna • Leonard McCoy • Ola • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Alhamisi Uhura • Nyota Uhura
- Referenced only
- Allah • Napoleon Bonaparte • Leonardo da Vinci • Devil • Freeman Dyson • God • Jesus Christ • Lord of the Cosmos • Methuselah • Muhammad • Pierre • Marcel Proust • Leo Tolstoy • "Aunt Uhura" • M'Umbha Uhura
Starships and vehicles
- Africa • Andromeda Galaxy • Atlantic Ocean • Chamber of Deputies • Dakar • Earth • Eden • Galactic core • Galaxy • Hell • Jupiter • Lyra • Moscow • Paris • Pellucidar • Senegal • South America • Starbase 13 • Tumara • Vulcan
Races and cultures
- Human (French • Incan • Russian • Senegalese • Swahili • Islamic) • Klingon • Lyran • Romulan • Starman • Strangers • Tholian • Vulcan
States and organizations
- French Empire • Klingon Empire • Starfleet • Starfleet Academy • United Federation of Planets • United States of Africa
Science and classification
- biology • chronometer • communicator • exobiology • hologram • hypospray • library computer • navigation • newstape • phaser • phaser bank • physicist • physics • psycho-computer • satellite • scanner • sensor • sleeping potion • stimulant • technology • transporter • tricorder • turbolift • universal translator • viewscreen • warp drive • wheel • zoology
Ranks and titles
- biologist • captain • chief medical officer • chief science officer • commanding officer • cowboy • doctor • ensign • first officer • junior officer • medic • nobleman • peasant • philosopher • princess • saint • scientist • second in command • security guard
- 19th century • agonizer • alert status • yellow alert • animal • army • asbestos • assassination • atmosphere • beam • bear • black hole • bourbon • bridge • captain's log • cards • cat • cave • chair • chess • chimpanzee • civil war • civilization • boot • cloud • code of honor • comet • concussion • corona • cosmos • cowboy • demon • desert • dwarf star • Dyson's Sphere • earthquake • eclipse • elephant • engine • engineering • evolution • extinction • farmer • Universal language • French Impressionism • fruit • fur • galaxy • ghost • giraffe • gorilla • Great Revolution • grizzly bear • hour • hypospray • insignia • intercom • island • jerkin • kilometer • kitten • Klingonese • knife • kova • landing party • leopard • lion • logic • magic • meteor • minute • monster • mountain • myth • nitrogen • ocean • orbit • oxygen • palm tree • parsec • peace • planet • pon farr • pony • protostar • quarters • radiation • rebellion • religion • robe • sedative • shark • shuttle bay • sickbay • silver • solar hour • solar system • spear • spirit • Swahili • swimming • telepathy • tiger • tree • tribe • underskirt • uniform • universe • Vulcan nerve pinch • war • War and Peace • water • whiskey • wood • worship • year • zombie
- 2 to 4 billion years ago
- Ay-nab begins its doomed journey on board the Lyra Dyson sphere. (Referenced)
- Cadets James T. Kirk and Thomas Clayton are roommates at Starfleet Academy. James T. Kirk later turned his roommate in for cheating. When asked why he did it, Kirk responded that he couldn't stand a cheater, especially at the Academy. (Referenced in Chapter 1)
- Before 2257
- Alhamisi Uhura took a young Nyota Uhura out of her home in Dakar to visit his rural family. (Referenced)
- Alhamisi Uhura goes missing. Alhamisi was a Starman who wandered the galaxy alone in an era of Human space exploration before the creation of the Starfleet. (Referenced)
- Alhamisi Uhura is presumed dead. Shortly after meeting James T. Kirk, Nyota Uhura expresses her grief. (Referenced)
- Stardate 6527.5
- The USS Enterprise locates an insane Human, Thomas Clayton, in uncharted space traveling in a shuttlecraft from the USS Rickover. (Chapter 1)
- A Klingon ship carrying Princess Kyanna becomes trapped within the Lyra Dyson sphere by Ay-nab. (Referenced)
- Stardate 6528.4
- The USS Enterprise discovers and becomes trapped within the Lyra Dyson sphere by Ay-nab.
- Stardate 6533.9
- The USS Enterprise attempts to discover the nature of Ay-nab as Nyota Uhura recalls a childhood with an often absent father. Alhamisi Uhura and many others are discovered living beneath the surface of Lyra.
- Multi-generational ships: the USS Enterprise also encountered large multi-generational starships in peril in TOS episode: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" and TOS novels: The Galactic Whirlpool, World Without End.
- The USS Enterprise also encountered an ancient, dying race protected by a non-corpreal intelligence in TOS novel: Devil World.
- Dyson spheres and similar constructs were also encountered in TNG episode: "Relics", TNG novel: Dyson Sphere, DS9 novel: Millennium, NF novel: Double or Nothing, and ST - Destiny novel: Gods of Night.
- Uhura reveals that public nudity is a 'norm' within the Federation, which is in line with Gene Roddenberry's suggestion of a similar implication in pre-production of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, that Earth would be shown with inhabitants visiting parks and public places in the nude.
- "Starmen" explored the galaxy in small one-man ships before the creation of Starfleet.
- The novel implies that Starfleet was created only a few years before the events of this story.
- The Rickeover shuttle was not overtly designated in the novel, but like other Starfleet shuttles of the era, probably had some type of name or number on the hull. Presumably, this was a shuttle intended to be of a type seen in TOS or TAS, but lacking any description associating it with any of those classes, it is possible it was a different design. At this point in Star Trek history, the only shuttlecraft that had been seen in live-action productions was the class F shuttlecraft, and only a handful of other types had been shown in animation.
- The volume cover art changed numerous times with subsequent printings. Initial versions showed a painting of Enterprise entering the Lyra Dyson sphere, while reprints changed the focus to the characters of Kirk and Kree, the Klingon antagonist. Overseas, the first Corgi Books printing showed a beauty shot of the Enterprise above the landscape of Lyra (and depicted the refit Enterprise of the movie era). The Titan Books reprinting in the Star Trek Adventures series showed a rendering of Dr. McCoy.
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